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January 2010

Salt of the Earth

There are some lessons I need to relearn occasionally. Being a servant is one of them. It is very easy to forget to be a servant, especially when our responsibility and autonomy increases.

Years ago I noticed that I was developing some resentment towards the authority at work. I had a lot of autonomy in making decisions about my work which I liked and which was something the leadership encouraged. They wanted independent and self-motivated employees. But I started to get a sort of CEO mentality and when the leadership would give me assignments "out of the blue" that had nothing to do (in my mind) with my job I would get resentful. I would do it but I had an attitude.

One night God spoke into to me and when I woke up everything was different. All the resentment was gone and I was happy with my job. Instead of feeling resentful I felt contented. I knew I was called to be a servant and that God's hand was on me to be a servant. Work was good.

As I stated earlier there are some lessons I need to relearn occasionally. My job has changed a lot over the years, with more responsibility and autonomy, and sometimes old attitudes crop back up again. But God is faithful.

I was flipping through the TV channels the other morning and caught Kenneth Copeland speaking about Joseph. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers. First he was a slave to an Egyptian named Potiphar. And God blessed Joseph there.

Genesis 39:2-6
2 The LORD was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 When his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD gave him success in everything he did, 4 Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. 5 From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the LORD blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the LORD was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. 6 So he left in Joseph's care everything he had; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.

Potiphar's wife wanted Joseph but Joseph rejected her advances. So she made some false accusations and Potiphar had Joseph thrown into prison. And God blessed Joseph there.

Genesis 39:20-23
But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23 The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph's care, because the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.

After being in prison for a few years Joseph was brought before Pharaoh to interpret a dream. Because of that interpretation Pharaoh placed Joseph over all of Egypt. And God blessed Joseph there.

Genesis 41:41-43
 41 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt." 42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph's finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43 He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and men shouted before him, "Make way !" Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt.

In all of these examples the results of the blessings went to someone other than Joseph. First all the results of the blessings went to Potiphar. If the results of the blessings belonged to Joseph he could not have been thrown into prison the way he was. In prison the results of the blessings belonged to the prison warden. For all the blessings Joseph was still a slave in prison. And finally all the blessings went to Pharaoh. Pharaoh could have, at any time, removed Joseph from his position and stripped him of his possessions.

In all of this I saw an example of what it means to be the salt of the earth. Whether in large things or small, complex or simple, God wants to bless us so the fruit of that blessing will go to someone else. In most cases that fruit will go to the world. In some cases it will go to other Christians but mostly to the world. A real servant always knows that everything he has belongs to the one he serves and in this context I am talking about the world.

That is what it means to be the salt of the earth.

My wife and I were talking about this and she pointed out that all that Joseph went through, hard times and blessings, were for someone else; his family.

Genesis 45:4-7
Then Joseph said to his brothers, "Come close to me." When they had done so, he said, "I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

We cannot go wrong having a servant's heart.